LONDON: Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said he was “sick and tired” of bung slurs and claimed he was victimised because of his Cockney accent, Southwark Crown Court heard.
The Tottenham manager also told football corruption investigators: “If there is any mud to be thrown, I seem to get on the end of it for whatever reason.”
Redknapp said there was “nothing on me in this world” as he voluntarily revealed details about his Monaco bank account during the Quest Premier League bung inquiry in 2006, jurors were told.
He told accountant Nigel Layton: “I don’t care who looks,” as Portsmouth’s finances were examined by the investigation led by former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Stevens in 2006.
Redknapp, originally from Poplar, east London, said: “A friend said to me, he said ‘Harry, I can’t believe it’s always you, I have dealt with you enough times. Your problem is your name, Harry, and you have got a Cockney accent.’ People don’t know me and I am sick and tired of it. There ain’t nobody who is more of a fan.”
The conversation took place between Layton – managing director of Quest – and Redknapp in November 2006.
Redknapp added: “I don’t care who looks, your people can look. Nobody will ever find anything on me. I don’t care who looks or how hard because there is nothing on me in this world.”
The extracts were read out in court after prosecutors said excuses offered by Redknapp and co-defendant Milan Mandaric for the £189,000 “bung” were “contradictory, inconsistent and lack credibility.”
Jurors also listened to a tape recording of a phone call between Redknapp and Mandaric as the manager told a reporter from the News of the World “everything I do, I do above board”.
Rob Beasley, the paper’s former chief sports writer, told jurors he used “flattery, friendship . . . and a little bit of kidology” with Redknapp and Mandaric as he investigated the case in 2009.
Beasley said he paid £1,000 to a source who was “absolutely not” a member of City of London Police or HM Revenue and Customs. But under cross-examination by Redknapp’s barrister, John Kelsey-Fry, Beasley said there were “two truths”.
Jurors were asked earlier to consider how the Tottenham manager “simply laughed” when questioned about the Monaco “bung”.
Prosecutor John Black QC completed his opening speech by pointing out how Redknapp’s story differed from Mandaric’s.
“Those explanations, the Crown say, are contradictory, inconsistent and lack credibility,” Black said.
Jurors were asked to consider, “is it credible that Mr Redknapp remained blissfully unaware” of the deposits in the account named after his pet dog, Rosie.
Black also pointed to evidence that Redknapp “simply laughed about it and decided to forget about it all.”
Referring to police interviews with Mandaric, Black asked: “Is there any credibility, you might like to consider that the payments constituted a loan?”
Black said: “Why, in that case, was Mr Redknapp under such misapprehension?”
Redknapp claimed he “received express reassurances from Mr Mandaric that the tax had been paid”, while Mandaric “assumed that Mr Redknapp would take legal advice and make the necessary action.”
Both Redknapp, 64, of Poole, Dorset, and Mandaric, from Oadby, Leicestershire, deny two counts of cheating the public revenue when Redknapp was manager of Portsmouth Football Club.
The first charge of cheating the public revenue alleges that between April 1 2002 and November 28 2007, Mandaric paid 145,000 US dollars (£93,100) into the account.
The second charge for the same offence relates to a sum of 150,000 US dollars (£96,300) allegedly paid between May 1 2004 and November 28 2007.
The trial was adjourned until Thursday.